Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Keep your brain healthy by mentally challenging it and stay socially active.

Keep your brain healthy by mentally challenging it and stay socially active.
beginning of content

Dementia prevention

2-minute read

Scientific research suggests that leading a brain-healthy life may reduce the risk of developing dementia later in life. However, there are no guarantees. As yet, dementia can’t be prevented or cured but there is evidence that people can reduce their risk of dementia and other chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer by adopting healthy lifestyles.

Leading a brain-healthy life means looking after your brain, your body and your heart. The earlier you do this the better, but it is particularly important once you reach middle age when changes start to occur in the brain.

There are a number of ways to keep your brain healthy and reduce your risk of developing dementia later in life.

1. Look after your heart

What’s good for your heart is also good for your brain.

Your chances of developing dementia seem to increase if you have problems that affect your heart or blood vessels.

2. Be physically active

Exercise gives your brain a boost. There is strong evidence that people who do regular physical activity have healthier brains and a lower risk of dementia.

3. Mentally challenge your brain

Your brain benefits every time you learn something new. Learning may maximise your cognition (understanding things) and ability to maintain a level of good brain power. So, take up a new language or a new sport, and mentally challenge yourself as much as possible.

4. Follow a healthy diet

Feed your brain well by maintaining a healthy diet. You can find tips about what to eat in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

5. Enjoy social activity

Socialise with people whose company you enjoy. If possible, try some activities that involve both mental and physical activity such as dancing or a team sport.

Two more strategies that may reduce your risk of developing dementia are:

  • Avoiding injury: Be safety-conscious and reduce falls or accidents — people who have had serious head injuries have a higher risk of dementia.
  • Managing depression: People who have had depression have a higher risk of dementia.

How to reduce your risk of dementia - expert advice

Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, exercising, having a good diet and reducing your blood pressure and cholesterol can help reduce the risk of developing dementia. Watch the video below and find additional advice that can help reduce this risk.


Read the related video transcript

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: October 2018


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Dementia Australia | Risk reduction and prevention

There is no sure way to prevent dementia. However, research has identified several risk factors associated with dementia. While there are some risk factors you cant control, such as genetics or age, many risk factors can be managed through lifestyle changes or appropriate medical treatments. For more information about the risk factors for dementia, visit our risk reduction

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Alzheimer's disease - myDr.com.au

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. Find out all you need to know, including what causes it and whether it can be prevented.

Read more on myDr website

Dementia: what is it? - myDr.com.au

Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. This article describes some early signs of dementia, who gets dementia and emphasises the importance of a timely medical diagnosis.

Read more on myDr website

Vascular dementia - myDr.com.au

Vascular dementia is a general term that describes problems with reasoning, planning, judgement, memory and other thinking skills.

Read more on myDr website

Living with dementia: making treatment decisions - NPS MedicineWise

People living with dementia have the right to make decisions about their care & treatment. Find out more about advance care planning for dementia.

Read more on NPS MedicineWise website

Medicines & dementia: what you need to know

Find resources to help you communicate about dementia & your care. Learn about the role of medicines in managing dementia.

Read more on NPS MedicineWise website

Dementia - different types - Better Health Channel

Dementia is more common in people over 65, but it is not a normal part of ageing.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease - myDr.com.au

CreutzfeldtJakob disease (CJD) is a fatal, degenerative brain disorder that causes rapidly progressive dementia and loss of muscle control. It is a rare disease, affecting 12 people in every million in Australia.

Read more on myDr website

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy - Brain Foundation

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Description Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a disorder characterized by symptoms similar to Parkinsons disease (including unsteady gait, stiff movements, and mild dementia)

Read more on Brain Foundation website

What is type 3 diabetes? - Diabetes NSW & ACT

In type 3 diabetes (Alzheimer's disease) the brain cells become starved of glucose, which can lead to a progressive reduction in memory and judgement.

Read more on Diabetes NSW and ACT website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo